Comment on the Westminster Government’s response to Education Committee's mental health report

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Responding to the Westminster Government’s response to The House of Commons Education Committee's report, Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Looked After Children, Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said:

‘The Fostering Network welcomed the findings of the Education Committee’s report and is pleased to see the Government affirming some of its recommendations. However, we are concerned that the Government does not see the need for all foster carers to receive training on mental health and wellbeing, nor the need for access to CAMHS for care experienced children and young people up to the age of 25. We believe both these are imperative to ensure improved mental health and wellbeing for looked after children and care experienced adults.

‘We are also disappointed that the Government has simply stated that sufficient guidance for many of the recommendations exists already. But merely existing is not enough; we regularly hear from foster carers who tell us that this guidance is not being followed in practice.

‘The Fostering Network is therefore calling on the Government to clearly restate the guidance, to ensure that local authorities in England are sufficiently funded to implement the guidance, and to monitor implementation to ensure consistency. We are also calling for targeted joint area themed inspections looking at mental health services to give an evidence base for the current service provision.

‘The mental health of future generations of looked after children in England depends on the recommendations of the Education Committee’s report being implemented. Our children are the best investment this Government could ever make both in terms of outcomes for young people and society and in terms of reducing the need for expensive interventions later in life. We would urge the Government to show clear leadership in this area.'